There is a "Yin and Yang" to all professional sports. On the one hand, professional sports can be corrupt and can simply bring out the worst in people. On the other hand, professional sports can be used for social good and positive change, and can inspire and bring out the very best in people.
My sister who is passionate about football both as player and coach, recently shared this brief video of kids meeting their football idols.
Ten Million Dollars Isn't Required
This post is based on recent experience where I saw the power of good when a community of incredible people supported a special kid named Alex who has the heart of a lion and is a champion in my books.
For those who want the post game summary -- Alex Smidt fought incredible odds to beat Meningitis. Through the generosity of others he attended his first ever Montreal Canadiens hockey game to watch his beloved Habs win the game and also meet his hockey idol P.K. Subban. This is the same P.K. Subban who graciously donated $10 Million dollars to the Montreal Children's Hospital.)
After personally witnessing the Hockey Inside Out community quietly make this child's dream a reality, I wondered if fans of baseball, soccer, football, basketball, rugby, cricket and other professional sports globally could replicate this success? Whether one supports the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Lynx, Liverpool Football Club, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Boston Celtics, or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Rudy is one of my favourite movies) -- your social media networks could be leveraged to help children facing tough odds to meet their idols and perhaps even be a catalyst to overcome adversity.
Your LinkedIn Network Is Required
We may not all be in a position to personally donate $10 Million to charity but we must not underestimate the influence of our own networks. After all...
To reinforce the point try this two minute exercise. Scroll up two paragraphs in this post and click on the links to the various professional sports teams listed there. They take you to the LinkedIn company pages for those teams (per Boston Celtics screenshot below). In the top right hand corner of each company page it displays how many 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree LinkedIn connections you or someone within your LinkedIn network know who currently work at that team.
You can also do this by using the LinkedIn search toolbar to find specific individuals or various professional sports teams located around the globe. Now, one could directly contact people working within a sports team but based on my experience, a warm referral via your network is significantly more effective than a cold-call or email.
Could you help organizations such as Children's Wish Foundation turn a child's dream into a reality? Could you help a child unlikely to ever have the financial means to attend a game to watch their sports idol play? Could you help a child whose only dream is to meet their sports heroine and get an autograph, photograph or selfie? After all...
Being a catalyst for a child to meet their sports idol might end up feeling a lot better than your favorite team winning a championship. Now what could be better than that?
Please share your experiences and ideas in the comments section below so others can also help kids facing difficulty to meet their own sports heroes. If you found this post of value you're welcome to "Like", "Tweet" and/or "Share" to spread the good word.